Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stepping Stones to Freedom

Today I'm feeling the pangs of a mother getting ready to let go of her "baby". I've been through this many times - first with my daughter, and many other times with animals I'd rescued, cared for, and then released to live out the remainder of their lives with loving families in forever homes. It's never easy to let go, but it's always rewarding.
The baby robin - I want to say MY robin, but I know he's not really mine - has progressed, which of course, he is supposed to do. I'm thrilled that he's done so well and excited to see him doing new things and finally feeding himself. I suspected he was pecking at the seed I'd been putting in his cage, but I'd never actually seen him do it until last night. Until then, he was more than willing to take food from the tweezers. I offered him seed and water some time ago, but all he seemed to do with them was stand in his dishes, scatter the seed, and splash the water all over his papers. I've been putting him outside for more time each day and he's taking advantage of it. Last night he had some birdie visitors as he scratched around under one of our backyard trees. One visitor was a robin and I wondered if Cheepers had any thoughts of the mother he'd lost. As I stood watching him from the kitchen window, I felt a bit like a contented mother might feel watching her human child interact with neighborhood kids. I want Cheepers (yes, I said I wasn't going to name him, but the name evolved as we mimicked the sound he made) to grow, mature, and eventually be on his own. I also want him to be able to survive in the wild. My spouse often reminds me there's no guarantee Cheepers will survive once he's released. I know that. I don't like to think about him not surviving, but I honestly think one day of freedom to any wild thing would be worth more than a lifetime in captivity. In a few short days, it will be time to let him go.
It was rainy last night and we left Cheepers outside until dusk. When we went out to get him and bring him in for the night, we called and heard him reply from our neighbor's patio. We were surprised he had traveled so far, but isn't that what "kids" do? They continually test their boundaries. We have a fence and he might have simply wiggled through the wires, but I hope he used his wings and flew to the neighbor's patio. I've yet to see him take off from the ground, though I know he can fly. I encourage him to use his wings every day, but as yet, he hasn't felt the need to demonstrate his take-off ability to me.
Yesterday was the first day I didn't give Cheepers food from tweezers. He ate his worms and apparently fed himself from a dish of suet and seeds. That's good news, and takes Cheepers one step closer to freedom. But that also brings me one step closer to having to let him go.


Donna said...

We "rescued" an injured adult goldfinch over a dozen years ago, who we named Tweeter. Your tales reminded me of that time! He survived and we set him free. He greeted us in the garden several weeks after that. Best wishes for your little feathered friend!

Kady said...

That's such a sweet story! I would love for Cheepers to come back for a visit after he has a taste of complete freedom. I think he's just about ready to go. I know he's meant to be free. Thanks!